57th Annual Cannes Film Festival May 12 - 23, 2004

The Cannes Film Festival was originally conceived in 1939 in response to French outrage at being passed over at the Venice Film Festival. This snub was due to the political climate and agendas beginning to arise in pre war Europe. As a response, a group of critics and filmmakers got together to petition the French government to underwrite the cost of running an alternative international film festival in France where films could be shown and compete without bias or political repression.


The inaugural Festival International du Film began on September 1, 1939. That year the festival only lasted through opening night before being cancelled, when France joined Britain in declaring war on Germany following Hitler's invasion of Poland. The festival then went into hiatus during the war years and re-opened in 1946. Today the Cannes International Film Festival is the most prestigious film festival in the world.



The festival is comprised of seven major sections the Competition, La Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (The Directors Fortnight), Un Certain Regard, Out of Competition, Cinéfondation, Semaine Internationale de la Critique Cannes, Marché du Film (The Film Market).


The Festival's Artistic Director Thierry Frémaux compares this years festival with that of previous years. "Filmmaking has been facilitated by the technology of digital imaging. Digital films are more and more present on the market these days.

You must also take into consideration that the Festival has been spreading the word that it is open to all types of films and that message has apparently been well received.

Cannes 2004 is presenting 56 feature films. There are a total of 46 world premi'res in the combined sections, more than in 2003 and 2002. Furthermore, the Selection is presenting 9 first films, twice that of last year. The figure that stands out though is the number of films submitted: 3562 feature-length and short films. In 2003, there were 2498 (2281 in 2002, 1798 in 2001 and 1397 in 2000). Compared to last year, the number of films submitted has increased 42.5 %. It was not so long ago, at the end of the 90s, that less than 1,000 films were the norm.

The Festival is also betting on young filmmakers this year and hopes to impose some new faces on the world map. The competition has been revitalized with twelve filmmakers presenting for the first time, many who have only made two or three films to date. Their names are for the most part unknown to general audiences and it comes as a surprise that they should even attain such a level this early in the game.

And finally, if the statistics can be considered any indication, the attraction for Cannes has not waned; this is true for the films seeking entry into the Official Selection as well as the Film Market."

To learn more about the Cannes Film Festival go to the official website at:  www.festival-cannes.fr

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